Tender is The Flesh

This book was randomly picked on a book club I'm on, and we were all a kind of shocked by it, discretion is advised.

An interesting story about a dystopian world where a virus makes animal meat dangerous for consumption, and ultimely, a cannibalistic society develops from there.

This was a gruesome and disturbing story that is not a light read at all. However, for me it was like a train-wreck that I couldn’t look away from, I read it in a day, which hadn’t happened in a while for me, and it was a really weird story. I read it in Spanish, since the the authoress is Argentinian and I may as well read the original writing, I am happy I did since there are quite a bit of elements that wouldn’t translate very well in English.

The plot focuses mostly on Marcos, our protagonist, who is in charge of a slaughterhouse, because it is a job that pays well, and he needs the money to support is father, who has dementia, he also has a wife that abandoned him after their son’s death, and a bunch of other internal conflicts, which the story focuses on.

He is in charge of purchasing the “heads” and selling diverse products. The plot thickens after one of their providers gifts him “First Pure Generation” female “head,” that only makes things worse in many ways…

A lot of the novel talks about the production processes done in the slaughterhouse, from meat, leather, scientific research and the like. This is of course, accompanied with gruesome and dry descriptions that can be too much sometimes.

There’s also an exploration of Marcos’ worldview, his thoughts, how he perceives people around him and such, we also see some of the laws and politics that lead to having the world in its current state, as well as what this does for different classes of society. The rich buy heads to hunt them alive, the poor will eat whoever gets ill and such. There’s the question of if the virus is actually real or if this is all just a means of population control, and what does it take for people to stop seeing each other as humans.

Things like that made for an fascinating premise, but it felt a little bit handhold-ish. Too many times are the words of people being described as glass, paper, a black hole, empty, sand and such. Clearly trying to make us see how everyone is aware they’re doing awful things but refusing to admit it. Also there’s barely any hope, no vegetarians or vegans? No people who eat bugs or something. It ends up being kind of annoying but not that much.

It is a dry take on what this kind of world would look like, but it was a bit too gruesome for me. As I said, It was the kind of thing I didn’t want to read more of, but the weirdness of it just kept me going. The ending was kind of predictable for me.

As I said, I read this for a book club I’m on and I expect the conversation to be quite interesting by the end of the month. Don’t read this if you want to be happy.

This is day 23 of #100DaysToOffload

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